The Amaze was Honda’s much awaited entry into the sub-4 metre sedan segment, a segment peculiar to the Indian market. But the arrival of compact SUVs made the affected sales of sedans across categories. But led by the New Dzire the compact sedan segment is on a comeback trail and now Honda is ready with a new generation of the Amaze to aid that comeback. First shown at the Auto Expo earlier this year as a world premiere the Amaze got a thumbs up from the Indian car enthusiast. Which is why Honda is set to launch the car sooner than expected. We were in Garden city Bangalore to sample the new Amaze for all its capabilities.

Looks

Probably the biggest challenge for car makers in India is to design sub 4-meter sedans that are well proportioned from outside and spacious from inside. Honda has used every mm available to give the new Amaze large sedan like looks. There’s an aerodynamic sleek line from the firm long nose and large bonnet all the way to the boot. The design is edgy and boxy and that makes the car looks muscular, quite unlike others in the segment. The lamps get LEDs and the smart use of chrome adds the much needed style quotient. The Amaze gets new 15 inch alloy wheels, one size bigger than before. The character lines on the doors give a sophisticated look to the car. The rear too is likeable with split tail lamps and a unique design of the boot lid, where the number plate sits nicely. Boot space also has gone up to 420 liters, 20 liters more than earlier. Ground clearance is 170 mm which is good for a compact sedan.

Interiors

The interiors remind less of the earlier generation and more of the new City which is a good thing. The design of the dashboard, the black & beige colour theme and the steering wheel with controls, all make the Amaze cabin look more premium. The touch screen AVN system is there too. It provides navigation, entertainment options and also houses a rear parking camera. The system is compatible with both Apple car play and Android Auto. The USB port is located conveniently between the front seats and is easy to access. Highlight are the seats, they’re nicely designed, made of good quality materials and provide for a comfortable ride. Ergonomically also the Amaze scores well as there are many small and big storage spaces all around the car. The car is also wider than earlier and three passengers can sit on the second row with decent comfort. Overall the Amaze now feels more spacious from inside.

Engine

Talking about drive train options the Amaze goes one step better than before. Unlike earlier now the car also has a CVT diesel variant, a segment first. The CVT works well with the wide torque band of the diesel engine, and it is possible to perform fun and sporty driving maneuvers. It also offers better, smoother acceleration and greater shift control when compared to the petrol CVT (which also gets paddle shifters). The engines continue to be 1.2 liter 90 PS petrol and 1.5 L 100 PS diesel. Honda claims fuel efficiency as high as 27 kmpl on the manual diesel variant. The expansion of the ratio range also ensures better fuel consumption. Honda has taken a lot of steps to ensure better NVH as this was an area of concern on the Amaze earlier. These include improving the sound proofing package and using an engine undercover which reduces diesel combustion noise during acceleration.

Ride & Handling

The all new platform and the host of changes that have been effected seem to have done the trick. The Amaze is now shorter than before and mentioned earlier wider too. This has aided in a car that handles better than before. The car provides high speed stability that is the concern in light small sedans. The suspension is tuned well to handle all kinds of roads conditions and the passengers are ensured a comfortable ride. Increased wheelbase and changing the rear suspension geometry also play their part in giving a good drive. The Amaze score big on safety as well with the car getting airbags, ABS with airbags and ISOFIX amongst other things all as standard.

Verdict

Some latest entrants to the compact sedan segment have scored big on design and practicality and designers across brands deserve good credit for it. The Amaze too has in it to ensure than the comeback story of this segment goes forward in a much faster way. The car generated positive buzz at the Auto Expo and after spending a day with the car it’s fair to say it deserves that. The launch of the new Amaze is just a couple of weeks away and that is when we’ll know how much the Amaze will be priced.

 

Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars

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